How Much Do Websites Cost? How Do I Choose A Website Designer?

Future Bright Website Company, SEO, Social Media, Reviews Management

Website Design In Marin

The home of Future Bright is in Marin County, just north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.   The entire North Bay is a treasure trove of small businesses, artisans, entrepreneurs, writers, and socially oriented organizations.   With some of the highest living costs in the country and most of the world, hiring or buying local means paying a premium.   Organic Eggs are $12 per dozen because the hens run wild, eat bugs and, probably get massages by specially trained foxes at night.  When it comes to websites, nothing but the best is acceptable.  This is because even though there is an artisan hand-made tradition, we are within view of Silicon Valley, and websites certainly should not look hand-made!  Unless of course you are interested in Brutalism Web Design, which is an entirely different story!

Without exception, every venture or organization now needs a website.  Finding a website company or digital partner who matches your style and budget can be challenging.  Is it possible that the price of eggs in your region could determine what you should spend on a website?  It certainly seems probable that there is a correlation!

Searching For A Website Company

As you will find anywhere in the world, there is a wide range in offerings for businesses searching for a digital partner.  There also is a wide range in options and features, platforms and systems.  It can be overwhelming.  Should you let your friend build your website for free?  Should you hire an agency and spend $50k?  Should you find someone local, or hire someone that lives in an area where eggs are much cheaper?  What do you need as a minimum to have a functioning digital presence?  In addition to a website, what social media platform should you be active on, and can someone help you with that?  What is Google looking for these days?  The answer to these questions will vary depending upon where you plan to be one year from now, and five years from now, and selecting a partner means looking for someone who can be with you not just for a few months, but for a year, three years, or longer.

Before And After

Web Designers In Marin And The North Bay

Future Bright is just one member of an amazing family of  website design and development providers in Marin County.  If you Google “website design Marin” or “website design in YOUR county” you will discover dozens of professionals who are local, reliable, and who understand the unique needs of a business operating in your community.  Selecting the right partner will require considering many factors including your budget, internal resources, your design style, and your revenue goals.

Future Bright is a full-service digital agency, which means that we do the hosting, design, development, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media Marketing.  We became full-service because we saw clients struggling to manage multiple teams.

If you are searching for a web designer in Marin or in your local area, it is because you feel that you want to work with someone that you can meet in person.  You want them to get to know you, to understand your individual preferences, and also, when you are working with someone local, you can be fairly certain that they will be reliable.   You need to determine the value of knowing your digital partner personally.  Is it important to you?  Then yes, it is worth the initial investment.  You will most likely save a great deal of time and expense working with someone in the same time zone, and also with someone who you can sit with to explain your needs.  If close proximity is NOT important to you, there are many incredibly talented web designers and developers around the world.

Selecting A Digital Partner

Creating your digital team may require pulling together multiple teams or individuals.  Perhaps you have a favorite designer, but they don’t build websites.  Perhaps you have a design and development partner, but they don’t do SEO.  You might have a Social Media Strategist who is going to take your business global.  Because the technology behind your website is critical to its success (if your site is broken it doesn’t matter how good the content is), you should choose your development team carefully.  When you are reaching out to web design and developers in Marin, it is best to not ask them to give you a quote right away.  Just assume it is going to be (In Bay Area Dollars) somewhere between $5k and $80k.  It is nearly impossible to determine the cost of a project with just a phone call.  You will get a wide range of quotes, and neither you (nor they) will be certain that the estimate is even close to the final cost.  Instead, spend 15-20 minutes having a conversation about your business and where you want to go.  Don’t try to ask them tricky questions.  Instead, ask them about some of their favorite projects, or about their team.  This will help you get a feel for each other’s style.

The two most important elements in selecting a digital partner is finding someone who has a 1. compatible communication and 2. a visual style that compliments yours.  Once you have narrowed your selection down to one or two teams or individuals, then I recommend requesting a Project Assessment from each.  This is how we now begin all of our projects.  Rather than creating a quote without knowing the details, we have carved out a piece out of our Discovery Phase budget, and offer a “Project Assessment” for $400-$600.  The result is a full report of our findings, what our recommendations are, a Scope of Work, and what we estimate the cost and timeline should be.  We then subtract that expense from the project if the client decides to move forward.  You can do this with two or three designers/developers.  You will gain valuable insight for your investment even from the teams that you do not choose.

Following are the elements that have the most impact on the cost of a project:

  • Do you need a logo and brand – and how high-end does it need to be?
  • Will you be selling products on the website?
  • Will you have a project portfolio on the site?
  • Do you need a copywriter, or will you be providing the copy?
  • Do you have an existing site, and is it on a platform that can be retained, or does it need to be upgraded or completely rebuilt?
  • Do you process information verbally?  If so, you will need to add budget for longer meetings.  This is important, so that you have enough time scheduled for you to be properly heard.
  • Do you have time to dedicate to the project, or could it potentially get put on hold due to events in your life or business?
Web Design

How Much Does Web Design Cost In Marin?

If you live in a different region, adjust pricing accordingly.  We have found that having a website built in Marin County for a small to medium sized business can range from $5,000-$50,000, with the probability of a small business with no fancy ecommerce requirements will pay around $12,000.  You should not spend less than $5000 on a website built in Marin County.  It is simply not possible to complete a quality website with the SEO, CRM & Social Media Integration that you need for a lower price.  If you have an e-commerce store, you should not spend less than $10,000, and it needs to include a Social Media Design Package with a strategy for marketing after launch.  You can find local developers who will build a site for a lower cost, but you can be certain that they will need to leave out important features or components.  If you require a specialized design, add another $5000.  If you have an ultra-modern brand, add $20,000.   You should spend about 10% of your target annual revenue to build your digital presence.  The website package should include three months of support after launch.

Probable Price Ranges For Web Design In Marin

The prices below should include all of the Critical Components that I have listed towards the bottom of this article.  These are prices for sites built for small to medium sizes businesses with sales of under $500,000.

Typical Costs:

Professional Logo & Brand:  $2000-$25,000 depending upon your needs

Single Page Site:  $3000-$5000

Five to Ten Page Site:  $5000-$15000

Five Page Site Plus eCommerce:  $6000-$30,000

A la carte Components:

Hosting & Content Maintenance:  $100-$800/month

Blog Management (upload + posting to Social Media) – $300-$500 per blog article

CRM Integration With Funnels, Drip Emails etc. $5000-$10,000 for set-up

Monthly SEO Services:  $1000-$3000 per month

Monthly Social media Services:  $1500-$5000 per month (does not include ad buys)

Critical Web Design & Development Components

Your website and digital presence should, without exception, include the following:

  • A professionally designed logo and color palette
  • A website design that is mobile friendly (responsive)
  • A website with a content management system that you can update if you wish to
  • A Key Word study with an SEO Strategist, with key words in the website page titles and content
  • Alt tags on all images that contain your business and keywords
  • An opt-in form connected preferably an advanced Customer Relationship Management System (MailChimp, InfusionSoft)
  • A load speed of under 3 seconds
  • Google Analytics, with a monthly auto-report being emailed to you
  • A monthly hosting/maintenance contract that includes backing up the site and updating components
  • Social Media presence including Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, plus others relevant to your field
  • A Google My Business registration

I hope that this article has given you some food for thought, and that you feel somewhat informed about what to expect when searching for a web design partner in Marin, your community, or beyond.  Are you wondering what website platform is best for you?  Take our visual Platform Quiz!

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